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Apra-IL Blog

You Should Write a Blog About That!

As part of our goal to share industry and career-related information to colleagues in the fundraising development field, we encourage you to contact us if you would like to contribute to our blog. 

We also enjoy reading other blogs and may contact you to share a guest post. 

Current 2019 Blog Series:

Apra-IL Presents 20 Questions with ...

Motivations of Leaders

Completed in 2018/2019: 

Love Letters to PD

Match Makers 2.0

Tales of Terror: The Prospect Development Edition

True Life: A Day in Prospect Development

50 Shades of Prospect Development

  • Mon, February 18, 2019 7:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As love is in the air, we will share what we love about prospect development. Follow our weekly series (four entries throughout February) to discover the humor, pathos, and irony that comes from our ranks of Apra-IL members. You'll enjoy limericks, long-form poems, and odes to all aspects of Prospect Development and we cannot wait to hear your thoughts!

    Passionate for Profiles

    By: Joan Ogwumike, Founding Principal at Jstrategies and Prospect Research Analyst for Principal Gifts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


    Dear Research Profile,

    I write to you in a feverish dismay, longing for the next time we meet. For it has been two days since we were last together and time passes as though it works against our love. A day draws as though it fills its morning, noon, and night with envy and spite.

    When shall we meet again?

    Will Monday never come? For I await our reunion and welcome it with open arms.

    Imagine, a new prospect awaits us and discoveries trickle from the tips of my fingers to your pages. I hope you reminisce on the fulfillment you gain when you learn biographical, business, philanthropic, and asset information.

    Hold on to the fond memories, as we wait. For we must painfully grapple with the reality of time and its vengeance on our love.

    But do not fear as I, dear profile, I know you long for our time together.

    “Haste Monday, swiftly,” I say to it, “there is work to be done, asks to be made, and capacity ratings to be given.”

    Our time together will be upon us once more. Slowly, but it comes as I impatiently wait.

    My dear sweet, enriching, purpose-driven profile, I wait for you.

    Sincerely,

    Your loving Researcher

  • Mon, February 18, 2019 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition

    The working relationship between prospect management professionals, data analytics, researchers and gift offers can make or break a shop's morale, efficiency, and ability to reach its goals! In an ode to all the popular reality match making shows, we present to you the second season of Apra-IL's series - Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition. Strengths and working style capabilities will be tested through random assignments, so have some fun with us as we imagine a world where we could match our perfect prospect development team whit a gift officer. 

    Host: Welcome back, everyone, to Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition. It is a new week and a new challenge!

    On the last episode, our two teams, The Builders and The Cultivators, competed in the challenge To Inherit or To Not Inherit, to create lists of people that Anthony could inherit from a previous DO’s portfolio. The Builders won the challenge and set the tone for the rest of the season.

    Remember that both teams consist of prospect researchers, prospect management professionals, and data analytics professionals that need to collaborate within their specific teams, and harness their skills to win different challenges in order to become one development officer’s perfect team match at Ordinary University.

    Let’s reintroduce our teams-

    Team one, The Builders, Melissa who is our Season One winner and prospect researcher, Michelle from prospect management, and Juanita from analytics.

    Team two, The Cultivators, let’s welcome Charles from prospect research, Shayla from prospect management, and Lauren from analytics.

    And our development officer (DO) Anthony who will also be our challenge judge.

    Audience: our second challenge is called There is Always a Twist.

    The objective of this challenge is to see how each team can successfully prospect and create a list of people based on an RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary) model. But there is a twist, each person must have a capacity rating above $50,000, cannot have active steps, and cannot be managed by a DO.

    Once the lists are in, we will hear from the teams about how they made their decision and Anthony will determine the winner of this challenge.

    Teams, you have until the end week. Good luck!

    *End of the week*

    Host: Welcome back. It is time to review the lists that both teams have created for Anthony. Remember, Anthony will decide the winner based on how the teams worked together and came to their conclusion.

    The Builders, please choose someone to speak for you during this deliberation, and tell us how you built your list.

    Juanita, data analytics: Juanita here and I will be speaking for The Builders during this challenge. To build this list, our researcher put together a list of people who had the capacity to give above $50,000. Our prospect manager used that list to weed out all the people who had active steps and were managed by a DO. I took this list and organized the people based on their RFM score by segmenting (or grouping) them by their last gift date, how often they have given within the last three years, and their total gift amount within the last three years. We felt that three years was a good time frame to measure these individuals. Each group was ranked from one to five.

    Host: Great work! The Cultivators, please choose your spokesperson and tell us how you built your list.

    Lauren, data analytics: Hello! I'm Lauren and I will be speaking for The Cultivators. Everyone really worked together on this project: we began by pulling a list of all the unmanaged prospects who had given in the last fiscal year. We then narrowed the list down by how often they had made a gift and then segmented the list based on their capacity rating. We then created a ranking system and segmented the list based on total giving in the last fiscal year.

    Host: Great work, team! Anthony, what do you think of how both teams worked together and built their lists?

    Anthony: Both teams did an amazing job working together to build their lists. They are making it really hard for me, because they created great lists. I believe both lists are important and most likely overlap. The Builders did a fantastic job and I liked their ranking system.

    The Cultivators also did a great job, but they produced a list I could use right away because I liked their time frame and focus on the last fiscal year.

    Host: Who is our winner, Anthony?

    Anthony: The Cultivators!

    Host: The Cultivators have won the second challenge! This Season is really heating up! Both of our teams are tied! 

    Who will be Anthony’s perfect team match!?

    Remember, these challenges are only going to get harder, and with one more challenge left, make sure to join us next time on Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition. At the end there will only be one match.

  • Thu, February 14, 2019 7:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As love is in the air, we will share what we love about prospect development. Follow our weekly series (four entries throughout February) to discover the humor, pathos, and irony that comes from our ranks of Apra-IL members. You'll enjoy limericks, long-form poems, and odes to all aspects of Prospect Development and we cannot wait to hear your thoughts!

    Language of Love


    Roses are sometimes red,

    Violets are nearly always blue,

    Thank you, Prospect Research,

    For teaching me to never make a definitive statement about a prospective donor for fear of it coming back to me in an irate e-mail from a fundraiser.


  • Mon, February 11, 2019 8:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As love is in the air, we will share what we love about prospect development. Follow our weekly series (four entries throughout February) to discover the humor, pathos, and irony that comes from our ranks of Apra-IL members. You'll enjoy limericks, long-form poems, and odes to all aspects of Prospect Development and we cannot wait to hear your thoughts!

    Limericks of Love

    by Katie Ingrao, Manager, Prospect Research at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab


    A good gift officer is rare

    One with vigor and flair

    They are worth the wait

    Researchers wish they’d duplicate

    Will HR hear our prayer?



    Portfolio reviews happen twice a year

    Gift Officers are bench-marked with their peers

    Stress and anxiety abound

    Goal and metrics pressures compound

    At the close, all give a resounding cheer!

  • Mon, February 04, 2019 8:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As love is in the air, we will share what we love about prospect development. Follow our weekly series (four entries throughout February) to discover the humor, pathos, and irony that comes from our ranks of Apra-IL members. You'll enjoy limericks, long-form poems, and odes to all aspects of Prospect Development and we cannot wait to hear your thoughts!

    An Ode to LexisNexis

    by Kathryn Thomas, Senior Prospect Identification Analyst, the Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association


    LexisNexis, my most crucial tool;

    Without you, I may just sit here and drool.

    You’re always there, supplying me with data and suggestions;

    When I’m stumped, I go to you for answers to my questions.

    Yes, there are moments when your service is sketchy,

    But it’s rare enough that I don’t get too kvetchy.

    LexisNexis, we spend every day together;

    We’ve been through ups and downs, but you’ve become my bellwether.

    Whether I’m answering a request or proactively searching for a donor,

    You’re there to help me brainstorm and prevent me becoming a moaner.

    As this is the month to celebrate affections,

    I’ve taken it upon myself to say without objections,

    I’m grateful you exist; despite your imperfections.


  • Mon, February 04, 2019 8:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition

    The working relationship between prospect management professionals, data analytics, researchers and gift offers can make or break a shop's morale, efficiency, and ability to reach its goals! In an ode to all the popular reality match making shows, we present to you the second season of Apra-IL's series - Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition. Strengths and working style capabilities will be tested through random assignments, so have some fun with us as we imagine a world where we could match our perfect prospect development team whit a gift officer. 

    Host: Welcome back everyone to Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition. We are so happy to be back with our competitors at Ordinary University! During this Season, we will watch as two teams of prospect researchers, prospect management professionals, and data analytics face off and harness their skills to win different challenges in order to become one development officer’s perfect team match. Let’s reintroduce our teams- Team one is called The Builders, let’s welcome Melissa who is our Season One winner and prospect researcher, Michelle from prospect management, and Juanita from analytics. 

    Team two is called, The Cultivators, let’s welcome Charles from prospect research, Shayla from prospect management, and Lauren from analytics.

    And our development officer (DO) Anthony who will also be our challenge judge.

    Audience, our first challenge is called To Inherit or To Not Inherit?

    The objective is to see how each team successfully transfers a previous colleague’s donors and prospects into Anthony’s portfolio. These donors and prospects consist of principal gifts, major gifts, and rated and unrated prospects/donors. It is up to the teams to determine who Anthony should inherit, and create a list.

    Once the lists are in, we will hear from the teams on how they made their decision and Anthony will determine the winner of this challenge.

    Teams, you have until the end week. Good luck!

    *End of the week*

    Host: Welcome back everyone. It is time to review the lists that both teams have created on who Anthony should inherit from a previous colleague. Remember, Anthony will decide the winner based on how the teams worked together, and choose the list of people he will inherit from the previous portfolio.

    The Builders, please choose your spokesperson that will speak for you during this deliberation, and tell us how you built your list.

    Michelle, prospect management: Hello, my name is Michelle and I will be speaking for The Builders. To build this list our researcher looked at all the interactions and ratings on each donor and prospect; I looked at how many had closed plans, were qualified, and how long they had been engaged by the previous DO; And Analytics mapped out the people who were in Anthony’s travel region. This was our process during the challenge, and it really worked out for us because out of 50 people we were able to create a list of 20 that were the best fit for Anthony. As a team, we also considered how many people Anthony currently had in his portfolio, and those who were being actively engaged. We did not give Anthony any principal gift prospects after speaking with the principal gifts program.

    Host: Thank you Team! Great work! The Cultivators, please choose your spokesperson that will speak for you during this deliberation, and tell us how you built your list.

    Shayla, prospect management: Hi, I’m Shayla and I will be speaking for The Cultivators during this challenge. We decided to focus on who the prospects and donors were, meaning their capacity ratings. We also took into consideration the current people in Anthony’s portfolio - Anthony has a lot of donors that need to be rated so we did not think he needed more. We also did not think it wise to give him any principal gift prospects based on the years of engagement by the previous DO, apprehension on having them meet someone new, and lastly Anthony’s years of experience in Development. No offense Anthony. We also decided to include some major gift donors because Anthony has brought in some major gifts all year. So, this was our process – out of the 50 people, Anthony inherited 30.

    Host: Alright team! I see there was a lot of discussions on what Anthony could and could not handle. Shayla, did you all utilize Lauren from analytics in this challenge?

    Shayla: No, we did not. We did not think it would be necessary.

    Host: Alright! Thanks Shayla, great work. Anthony, what do you think of how both teams worked together, and built their lists?

    Anthony: I thought they did a great job. I liked how The Builder utilized everyone in the team to truly build the list. They thought of ratings and interactions to mapping out locations, and strategically worked together to build a robust list of people that I could inherit.

    The Cultivators did a great job as well. However, I wish they had utilized analytics because the point of the challenge was to collaborate as a team. I’m sure Lauren could have helped. Regardless, I liked the fact that they took a more micro approach into the content of my portfolio. They really analyzed the type of people who were currently in my portfolio, and who they could not add and why.

    Host: Who is our winner Anthony?

    Anthony: The Builders win this one. I liked the way everyone played a part in building the list. Both teams brought interesting strategies to creating the list, but The Builders really made sure that each person played a role and I believe they had a slightly stronger process in how they produced the list.

    Host: The Builders! Great job on wining the first challenge!

    Host: Well folks I think we have all learned a great lesson here: this is about building a team! And how you work together as a team is being analyzed.

    So now that we have completed our first challenge, The Builders are leading and have set the bar high. I want our competitors to know that these challenges are only going to get harder. Remember to push yourselves, and think outside the box as you work together. Depend on one another’s skills! Thank you everyone!

    Join us next time on Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition. At the end there will only be one match.

  • Mon, January 07, 2019 9:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition

    The working relationship between prospect management professionals, data analytics, researchers and gift officers can make or break a shop’s morale, efficiency, and ability to reach its goals! In an ode to all the popular reality match making shows, we present to you the second season of Apra-IL’s series -Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition. Strengths and working style capabilities will be tested through random assignments so have some fun with us as we imagine a world where we could match our perfect prospect development team with a gift officer.

    Narrator: Welcome back to Ordinary University, small town USA! Today, we are back at OU for a second season of challenges with the advancement office! Since Season One, this shop has been on the forefront of matching the skills and strengths of researchers to their development officers (Dos) in order to build new portfolios and garner new and large gifts. In this second season, we will confront a new challenge: collaborations within prospect development.

    At OU, prospect development professionals are divided into teams and only conduct their specific tasks with little collaboration. Therefore, in this season we will watch as two teams explore how prospect researchers can work with prospect management professionals and how prospect management can collaborate with data analytics. Most importantly, we will see how they can work together, within their specific teams, when faced with a project that harnesses their skills.

    In this season we will have two teams that consist of one prospect researcher, one prospect manager, and one data analyst. Both teams will face off to be matched with one development officer who will also be our challenge judge that decides which team ultimately wins Match Makers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition.

    Let’s welcome our teams: team one is called The Builders, and consists of Melissa who is our season one winner and prospect researcher, Michelle from prospect management, and Juanita from analytics.

    Team two has named themselves, The Cultivators, and consists of Charles from prospect research, Shayla from prospect management, and Lauren from analytics.

    These two teams consist of professionals from different backgrounds, with different experiences in prospect development. They all have cultivated great relationships with their officers, and have their own process in delivering their products.

    Over the coming weeks we will be introduced to each team, and follow them on their collaboration journey. They will be tested on a series of challenges that involve, prospecting and portfolios to analyze their skills and compatibility with the DO, and their approach to producing a requested product as a team. The final result will be given to the DO to be analyzed for its usability, relevancy, and other preferred skills deemed optimal, he finds his perfect development team match.

    Now let’s switch gears and meet Anthony our DO. Anthony is an alum of OU, a small-town native, and has been working in development for two years.

    Over the course of three challenges, Anthony will decide his perfect development team, and we will be watching the entire journey. We hope you will join us next week on Match Markers Season 2: The Prospect Development Edition when Anthony meets the two teams and they begin their first challenge!

  • Fri, December 07, 2018 10:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What makes prospect development a great career?

    Apra-IL is asking local and national industry leaders what the field means to them and why and how they have pursued success in prospect development. Through this blog series, we will explore what drives industry leaders to propel their careers and prospect development forward. 

    For this month's piece, Joan Ogwumike, Apra-IL member and volunteer, interviews Preeti Gill, Associate Manager of Prospect Development at Covenant House Vancouver and Founder of Sole Searcher Strategies. 

    Preeti Gill is an experienced prospect development professional in Vancouver, Canada. She has re-energized research and prospect management programs in education, the community foundation movement, health care and social services. At Covenant House Vancouver, Preeti is employing a gender lens to create a new(ish) prospect development program that supports both an ambitious capital campaign and a growing major gift fundraising team. She recently joined the group of advisors at Women’s Giving Circles International.

    Apra-IL: Preeti, you have been very vocal about advocacy and Women and People of Color in Philanthropy. Can you share with our readers what advocacy means to you? And why you focus on Women and People of Color?

    Gill: Well, just look at me… 

    Let’s be honest and real: do you think a short brown girl from a small mill town will successfully secure millions from a middle-aged white corporate dude? I knew the answer early on in my career, whether subconsciously or otherwise. Instead, I managed to find a supportive space in prospect development (PD) and make a small contribution to institutional philanthropy as an alternative.

    I don’t stop and think about advocacy as a concept. I’m just not afraid to speak up when I feel disrespected or when my work – when our work – is needlessly discredited due to uninformed opinion. I hope that you feel empowered to speak up, too.

    If you’ve heard me speak at a conference or read my blog, you’ll know that advancing female philanthropy is a personal mission, born out of stories of generous women not being adequately acknowledged, simply put. Their stories motivated me to enhance my own understanding of different donor segments and advocate for them as viable major giving prospects from my place in PD.

    Women continue to be ignored if they’re not purchasing yachts or making mega-gifts. Wealthy people of color are treated as a “new” and “emerging” group of prospects, when they’ve given back to their families, communities, mosques, temples (as well as the charities you and I support) forever.

    I choose to deliberately and intentionally focus on women and POC donors in my PD practice because they give more than we think they do; and they deserve recognition for their philanthropic efforts. Also, we can’t afford to ignore them anymore since our current donor pool is shrinking.

    Apra-IL: In hindsight, would you say that advocating for these topics has kept you motivated to continue to build your career in Prospect Development? What else has kept you going?

    Gill: Of course! Information is power.

    I’ve had many opportunities to grow and evolve in PD which I think is more diverse of a field than it’s given credit for. It’s from my place in PD that I’ve had the opportunity to build curiosity, think differently, and come up with creative strategies to advance certain donor segments, in collaboration with donor-facing colleagues.

    Learning motivates me a great deal. There are so many ways to be a better researcher with no formal or standard training; and I’ve been fortunate to take advantage of many diverse learning opportunities. In 2019, I’m planning to take courses in financial planning and board leadership and attend conferences focused on women’s rights and advancement services. How’s that for variety?

    I’ve always been motivated by the generous people I research. Following the stories of some successful people in the philanthropic sector have kept me going, especially on days when I felt like giving up and going away. Check out Hali Lee at the Asian Women’s Giving Circle. She has done ground breaking work developing a welcoming space for wealthy donors of color in philanthropy. Explore the major gifts that Neda Nobari has made her to alma mater San Francisco State University, to foster understanding of the Iranian American experience. Follow Virgil Roberts at the African American Board Leadership Institute which is connecting black professionals with non-profit boards who need their guidance and expertise.

    All their efforts keep me going and motivate me to do my part in PD.

    Apra-IL: What role has Apra played in your career?

    Gill: Joining Apra-Canada early in my career was one of the best decisions, I must say. I began volunteering just a few months after joining, so I started to work alongside different people outside my organization which truly opened up my world. As a collaborative association, Apra warms my heart and soul.

    I think Apra can do more to address diversity and inclusion issues in the future, but the board requires pressure by its membership to do so. One starting point is to simply acknowledge and appreciate our differences. For example, sometimes I get the feeling that PD professionals look down on researchers while looking up to data scientists. Our learning opportunities seem to be increasingly segregated, perhaps as a consequence. I’m not down with that. Often, it’s the stalwart researcher who draws on both technical and soft skills to communicate the results and meaning of raw data, right alongside our rock star analytics counterparts.

    Apra-IL: As professionals in Prospect Development, do you think we should have a voice in the issue of Diversity and Inclusion in Fundraising? And for those reading, inspired by you, how can they become allies on this issue or begin their advocacy journey for the field of Prospect Development or Fundraising?

    Gill: Why not? I have to ask you right back because for so long prospect research and what we now call Prospect Development was dominated (and may still be) by smart women. PD professional women are paid less than our male counterparts, as Apra’s salary survey clearly demonstrated. We need to address this inequity inside and outside of PD.

    Why leave this complex issue up to front-line fundraisers especially since that field is dominated by white women asking white men for money. (Yes, I just said that.)

    I suggest starting your own advocacy journey by assessing your own life and career goals. How are you feeling about your work, your co-workers, your organization’s mission? If you’re feeling good and optimistic about the future, keep going. If not, figure out what will make you more effective and happier. As a PD professional, you have many choices and a lot to offer the philanthropic sector, recognizing that change requires courageous confidence.

    Also, hone your own perspective. No one really cares about how much you know about other people’s money. They care about your perspective, the one you’ve honed through formal education, countless hours researching and analyzing donors and working alongside front-line staff crafting meaningful donor engagement and ask strategies.

    The best way to be an ally is to participate in philanthropy outside of your PD role. Volunteer your time for an organization you care about. Donate, no matter the amount. Join a giving circle. Learn how to set up a donor advised fund. Reach out to other fundraising professionals just to talk about the issues in your community. Participating more fully in philanthropy will make you a better researcher, but more importantly, contribute to social change which philanthropy seeks to address in the first place.

    Apra-IL: Fill in the blank with a piece of advice you wish you had received in your first Prospect Development role: When in doubt, _________.

    Gill: Don’t react. Plan and act!

    Full disclosure: I saw this on a sign; it was part of an activism exhibit at the Cultural Center in Chicago. It’s such good advice that I’ve tried to adhere to since coming across it. It makes sense for those in our field, being the prudent, resourceful and thoughtful professionals that we are in PD.

    I think it’s easier to react sometimes, whether it’s to a profile request or a feeling you get when you feel you’ve been treated a certain kind of way. May I suggest: breathe deep. Step back. Then figure out how to proceed. Your future self will be grateful, in my humble opinion.

  • Wed, October 31, 2018 9:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Apra-IL presents Tales of Terror: The Prospect Development Edition. Inspired by series such as Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps, this series will present stories that thrill, excite, and chill you to the bone ... just in time for Halloween!

    This story is brought to us by Amy Tibbs, Development Research Associate at the National Audubon Society and Apra-IL Secretary. Prepare yourself for a wild ride through the unincorporated territory of a database gone feral in Dial D for Data. 

    Dial D for Data

    On a bright, crisp fall morning, as the leaves are starting to turn, Sheila walks through campus. “I got this,” she thinks. Having just started a new gig, she’s ready to prep for her first meeting with her gift officers. Sure, she doesn’t yet know everything there is to know about their portfolios. And she’s still figuring out everyone’s style. Sure, the database seems a little chaotic, but her predecessor Frederick did leave behind a manual. Well, “manual” is a strong word; pile of documents in a file drawer may be a better description … stack of scraps and post-its would be more accurate. Given Frederick’s mysterious disappearance, she’s just glad to have some guidance.

    Shaking off a chill as she passes through the graveyard next to her office, she bounds up the stairs. Waving to colleagues and bypassing the morning hellos, Sheila spends an hour testing the multitude of reports in the system and digging in to see how they were built. In minutes, she discovers that Frederick updated his reports almost daily and never deleted or re-wrote the previous versions. She realizes organizing reports could be a full-time job! As she struggles through page after page of v.1, v.10, v.59, her inbox begins filling up with gift officer notes. She reads one about a professor driving a Tesla, which results in a request for a capacity review, and starts into another that begins, “Do you think that Jenny and John Smith are part of THE Smiths? How about a full family tree…” and she quickly closes Outlook. With little time to spare, she pulls a rudimentary portfolio review and heads to the conference room.

    Sheila sits down and begins reading through the gift officer portfolio reports, but she can’t make sense of the data. Gift totals aren’t adding up, last actions are all over the place, and time in stage ranges from zero to 730 days! The last lives on a record for a couple that recently made a huge gift – everyone in town has been talking about it ever since.

    A few gift officers arrive early and Sheila takes advantage of the smaller group to ask them what the process has been like on their end. They look at her blankly. “But do you see how there’s an update to this record from last week? Who put it in? I just want to know who to ask for some insight …” Sheila trails off as the fundraisers grin and assure her that the information in the system is good, and Sheila should trust it. How are the Jones and Smith projects coming along, by the way? The meeting goes on around her, but Sheila cannot stop thinking that this is all strange. Why are people holding out on such basic information; information she needs to do her job?

    Later at the coffee machine, a newer gift officer approaches Sheila and furtively pleads with her, “You have to stop asking questions. Please! Stop! Don’t you see? I thought it was strange, too, but you have to stop asking, Sheila!”

    “What!? What do you mean? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!”

    “Sheila, the gift officers all input their own data. Everyone has full editing access in the database. They’re changing addresses on a whim, adjusting allocations on gifts that don’t jive with the information in finance, they change criteria in the queries that feed our reports. They are even entering their own research notes based on Google searches. I saw them record that Jenny and John Smith have seven multimillion dollar homes. They rated them $1 kajillion dollars! I know Jenny! She works at Panera! They live in ONE house!”

    Taking a breath, he quietly ends with, “I’ve said too much. I have to go.”

    “That was weird,” Sheila thinks. But when she returns to her desk, she pulls up the Smiths’ record. And indeed, the couple has a free-text capacity rating of $1 kajillion. Mumbling to herself, Sheila wonders, “Why aren’t ratings recorded in a code table? Is kajillion a real number? It can’t be, right? No – Google confirms it. It’s a slang term and not a real number!” The Smiths’ record has seven current mailing addresses. Their birthdates are seventy-three years apart and they have zero history of giving or interacting with development. Despite that, their stage is listed as “Super Cultivation” and there is a projected ask of $2million! Confoundedly, the couple’s record also has some information correct: Jenny is listed as working at Panera Bread and John’s occupation is correctly identified as paper sales.

    Her belly full of dread, Sheila knocks on the Executive Director’s door. Sitting down, she asks whether she understands correctly: that everyone in the office has full access to edit the database. The ED swivels around and stares at Sheila. As she continues to talk, she hears her voice growing frantic, “But who is vetting the information? How are you pulling information if everything is going into the database all willy-nilly?” The ED responds, “We know what’s best for our people, Sheila, and we know how to Google things just like you do. Run along now and build us some dashboards. We’re particularly interested in discovering whether prospects with male dogs are also interested in recreational sports and if so, what their super-secret-sub-stage is and where they are in the pipeline.”

    Sheila, struck dumb, stammers, “But … but … that information is not … what? That information is … it doesn’t exist in the database in any way we could report out and … nothing is managed and …”

    The ED breaks in, “Oh dear, Sheila. Don’t you get it? That is why you are here. It is yours to manage, but we’ll control the information.” With an evil chuckle, she swivels away and Sheila exits the office.

    Back at her desk, Sheila’s inbox has exploded with requests for research, record updates, relationship connections, stage changes … why doesn’t anyone talk with her face-to-face? What’s with the influx of requests? Completely overwhelmed and perplexed, Sheila heads outside for a walk. As she passes the graveyard, she notices a freshly dug grave. With great trepidation, she approaches the headstone, which reads, “Frederick Meusch – b. 1974 d. 2017 -- He just couldn’t stop saying data integrity.”

    Gasping, she turns on her heel to see the entire development team at the iron gates. Marching slowly toward her through the graveyard, they chant, “The data is good … The data is fine … Do your job or it’s your time.”

    ~Fin~


  • Tue, October 23, 2018 7:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Apra-IL presents Tales of Terror: The Prospect Development Edition. Inspired by series such as Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps, this series will present stories that thrill, excite, and chill you to the bone ... just in time for Halloween!

    This story is brought to us by Katie Fanning, Senior Analyst, Prospect Research and Amelia Aldred, Lead Analyst at the University of Chicago. Walk with them through this twisting exchange that travels the globe and the bounds of your credulity. 

    The Mysterious Advancement of Jacob Harding

    Date: September 25, 2010

    To: Caitlin Mire

    From: Jacob Harding

    Subject: Quick Lookup?

    Hi Caitlin,

    I have a quick turnaround request – I just got a visit with an alum that I think has a lot of potential. Could you do some research on him? His name is Voievode Nicolae Lupei Basarab (see attached business card). I think part of the name might be a title though.

    I met his personal assistant (I think? I wasn't clear what the relationship was exactly, but he definitely works for the guy) at the alumni event in Vienna. The PA gave me the business card and said that Voievode Nicolae was sorry he couldn't attend but would like to meet with me if my travel schedule allowed. I let him know that I was going to be in Europe for another week and scheduled a visit while I'm here.

    Here are my questions:

    -He sent an assistant to meet me and from talking to the PA, it sounds like the alum lives on an estate in the country; – I'm definitely thinking family money. Is there any info on the family/wealth etc?

    -It sounds like the alum found out about the event from his network as he wasn't actually on the invite list (I didn't mention that, of course!). Can you tell me what his degree/year/affiliation is?

    -Anything else you can find: other philanthropy, etc.

    I know this is really last minute but any additional information would be appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,

    Jake

    Jacob Harding

    Director of International Advancement

    Office of Alumni Relations and Development

    Carfax University

    ---------

    Date: September 26, 2010

    To: Jacob Harding

    From: Caitlin Mire

    Subject: Re: Quick Lookup?

    Jacob,

    You’ve got a live one there!

    Although I wasn’t able to find much on Mr. Basarab personally, I suspect you’re correct about family money. The Basarab House has been prominent in Romania since the early 1300s when they established the principality of Wallachia. The family actually predates modern Romania by over 500 years.

    Voievode looks to be a hereditary title analogous to a crown prince but with a distinctly military bent. The Basarab family has had the right to it since their inception. At some point, the family split into two lines: Dănești and Drăculești. It looks like the Drăculești line lasted a lot longer. Given Mr. Basarab is still using Voievode, I would bet he’s one of their descendants.

    Although a hereditary title would be functionally useless in modern Romania (no legal standing), it’s still a good sign for social standing (and wealth!) that he’s able to use it.

    I did find some information that there’s a family estate nearish Pitești though there’s conflicting reports as to whether or not it’s even inhabitable. Apparently, the Romanian government has tried (unsuccessfully) to take possession of it on several occasions. Can you confirm the location of your meeting? If he’s in residence, I would bet Mr. Basarab still has some claim.

    As for his affiliation, that’s a little unclear. I wasn’t actually able to find a Basarab in the database but those records aren’t great for our older alumni. I ran by the library just in case and I did find a PhD thesis on Ioan de Hunedoara submitted to the history department by a Nicolae Basarab but it was from 1897. Unless Mr. Basarab has the world’s best diet, it’s not him. Probably a relative – Basarab isn’t a super common name. Could be an interesting conversation starter.

    It looks like he has some giving (amount unreported) to the ELN Foundation, which supports European leukemia research.

    I’d love to hear an update when you get back.

    Caitlin Mire

    Senior Analyst, Prospect Research

    Office of Alumni Relations and Development

    Carfax University

    ---------

    Date: September 28, 2010

    To: Caitlin Mire

    From: Jacob Harding

    Subject: Quick Lookup?

    Hi Caitlin,

    Thank you so much for the quick turnaround! You are a rock star.

    I visited Mr. Basarab at his family estate today; it is an actual castle in the Carpathian mountains, surrounded by miles of forest. The castle is beautifully furnished, all antiques including some lovely medieval weapons and tapestries hanging in the hall. I attached a photo of the great hall. Mr. Basarab is posed by the suit of armor but he just shows up as a shadow (he must have moved). I suspect that you are on the right track regarding his family history – I noticed that several of the older paintings had the name Drăculești, including one that was nearly identical to Mr. Basarab. I mentioned the likeness and he laughed.

    He seems to live very comfortably and does not appear to have a career outside managing the estate so I suspect that there is still family wealth. I tried to steer the conversation to his experience at the University and get a sense of what years he attended, but he only said that he attended “very long ago.”

    I mentioned the PhD thesis you found and asked if he knew of any ancestors who attended the University. He said that history was a family passion and we had long conversation about the history of the area, of which he was very knowledgeable.

    I tried to update Mr. Basarab on the University’s current activities but he was apathetic. He was very interested in me: he asked how long I had worked for the University, if I had family in Chicago, when they were expecting me back, etc. It was a little odd, to tell the truth.

    Mr. Basarab has invited me to stay for a few days, hopefully I will find out more about his connection to the University and get a better sense of his gift capacity and interests.

    -J

    Jacob Harding

    Director of International Advancement

    Office of Alumni Relations and Development

    Carfax University

    ---------

    Date: October 1, 2010

    From: Liz Wells 

    To: Caitlin Mire

    Subject: Fwd: Jacob Harding Announcement

    Hi Caitlin, got this announcement – forwarding it to you in case you didn't get it. I know you were the liaison for Jake. Apparently, it was really out of the blue (he emailed Johanna from Bucharest and starts his new job immediately). You can put his projects on hold for now, until we get a new International Advancement officer.

    -Liz

     ----------

    Dear Colleagues,

    It is with mixed emotions that I announce the departure of Jacob Harding. He has accepted an opportunity to direct the Basarab Family Foundation, headquartered in Romania. Jacob served at the University for five years, during which he worked tirelessly to build up our International Advancement team. We wish Jacob the best of luck on his future endeavors!

    Sincerely,

    Johanna

    Johanna Vanhelm

    Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development

    --------

    Date: June 20, 2018

    To: Mindy Murray

    From: Lucy West

    Subject: Capacity Rating for Nicolae Lupei Basarab?

    Hi Mindy,

    I was looking over the list you pulled of unengaged alumni in Europe and I wondered if you could do a cap rating for Nicolae Lupei Basarab (Entity ID: 0007846351). I see that some research was done on him several years ago and he was visited but no contact report was entered.

    I'm putting together a visit list for my upcoming Europe trip and I plan on doing some qualification visits.

    Thanks in advance,

    Lucy

    Lucy N. West

    Director of International Advancement

    Office of Alumni Relations and Development

    Carfax University


    The End.


    Scared Horror GIF


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